Friday, October 30, 2015

The 1939 National Register is coming ...

In September 1939 the government produced a register in order to issue National Identity Cards during the war, and the register was later used for rationing and even later as the basis for the registration for the National Health Service. The register records name, address and occupation and is important because the 1931 census records were destroyed during the war, and no census was held in 1941 because of the War,  (The 1921 census exists but is not due to be released until 2022, and the 1951 census will not be released until 2052)
The 1939 register has been released for publication in digitized form and will be available from 2nd November on FindMyPast. I expect the service will be overloaded over the first few days but look forward to looking at my own record, which should show me living in a shop in Swain Street, Watchet, Somerset, as my parents had moved from Hertfordshire a few months earlier.
How to Search the Register

If you use it to find something interesting about your Hertfordshire ancestors why not post  details as a comment below.


  1. Looking forward to seeing the 1939 Register - though if I am reading the info correctly, your details will not appear......unless you are more than 100 years old. :-)

  2. Had a chance to look at the 1939 Register. I have been able to reconstruct the households of the entire village of Preston, Herts for free! You need to juggle the information - ie input the piece and item numbers - and people born after 1915 are not shown (unless they died). It is useful having the electoral registers for 1930 and 1951 which more or less fix the abodes of households

    I think it is salty to charge more than £50 for information on 15 households. It would be cheaper to drive to The National Archives and research there for free - assuming that this is the case.

    One aspect that is useful is that as the records were used by the government between 1939 and 1946, if a woman married between these dates, then her maiden and married surnames are shown in the Register. This was true of my mother who married in 1945 and is shown as WRAY/MILLS. This helps to pin down folk.

    What have I found? TNA have a card that shows my mother as joining the Women's Land Army in 1941. The 1939 Register has her on a farm at Preston in 1939! It is the farm where my father worked. This was a revelation - I had been told by at least two people that she was on another farm in the village. So that is how they met. WW2 had a silver lining - at least as far as I was concerned!


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